Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries. 

Egypt’s CAPMAS: Minimum wage in the private sector would increase unemployment

The unemployment rate would rise from 13.4 to 20 percent, if the private sector were to apply a monthly minimum wage of EGP 1200 ($174) Chairman of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) Abu Bakr el-Gendi said Thursday. The Cabinet recently set the minimum wage to EGP 1,200 for workers in the public sector, to be applied in January. “The higher the private sector’s minimum wage, the lower the hiring rate will be,” Gendi added. The Higher Council for Wages is the body concerned with applying the minimum wage on the private sector employees, Gendi said in a statement, noting that minimum wage for private sector has not been determined yet. [Youm7]
Egypt’s financial regulator will submit new rules to the government in January to facilitate issuance of Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, as part of a capital market law, according to Sherif Samy, chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). The EFSA is keen to push for the introduction of Sukuk to diversify funding sources and help further develop the country’s capital markets. [Reuters]
The World Bank recently noted that Tunisia is now paying the price of the protracted political crisis that prevents the establishment of permanent institutions, rising security concerns related to terrorism” but also the weaknesses of the European economy. Regarding unemployment, the Bank expects that it will remain high in the short term, because Tunisia will need to achieve at least 4.5 percent growth to reduce the number of unemployed people. It noted that approximately 15 percent of the population is unemployed. This rate exceeds 30 percent among graduates. According to estimates by Jean-Luc  Bernardine, the new chief economist of the World Bank in Tunisia, the economy will grow around 2.6 percent this year and 3 percent in 2014. [AfricanManager]
Rapidly-growing Islamic-based finance will drive the next phase of economic growth across MENA, financial leaders have said.  Bankers in attendance from around the world at the Euromoney Qatar Conference in Doha this week provided critical insight into the state of the global economy, and the MENA region’s growing role as a source and key market for Islamic-based finance. Globally Sharia-compliant assets are estimated to be worth USD 1.4 trillion, and slated to post double-digit growth in the next two-to-three years, a recent report from Standard & Poor’s said. [Business Standard]
Also of Interest:
Egypt: Presidential decree amending some provisions of income tax law | Youm7
EU grants Egypt $380 million for development projects | Ahram
Egypt sees 19 percent rise in tax revenues in first half of FY2013/2014 | Ahram
EU grants $30 million to Jordan for education for Syrian refugees | ANSAMed
Egypt looks to Greek Cyprus for natural gas | World Bulletin
Morocco battles terror funding | Magharebia  
Tunisia’s UTICA calls for revision of some articles of 2014 finance law | TAP
Tunisia is likely to default on its loans to Qatar, Japan, and US | AfricanManager
Yemeni commission forms partnerships to uproot corruption | Al-Shofra